Bengaluru Buzz: New Year restrictions likely | AC bus fares reduced…and more

As the number of Omicron cases increase, the advisory committee for COVID has recommended restricted New Year celebrations. Read more in our news roundup.

TAC recommends low-key New Year

A report of the state COVID TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) has recommended subdued New Year celebrations this year, to keep stable the present daily reporting of about 300 COVID cases and TPR of 0.4%. It suggested prohibitions of gatherings or celebrations in pubs, restaurants, clubs on major roads, malls and other public places, especially at Church Street, MG Road, Brigade Road and parallel roads. Night curfew from December 30 to January 2 (7 pm to 5 am) has been recommended. However, the report said that regular activities and business could continue.

Wherever needed, IPC Section 144, Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act would be enforced.

Another suggestion was to allow only 50% occupancy in religious shrines between December 22 and January 2. Special services and ceremonies should be banned, and people should not stay for more than 20 minutes in closed spaces. Also, there should not be more than 200 persons in closed areas, the report suggested.

Service personnel in party hubs should be fully vaccinated and show a negative RT-PCR report not older than 72 hours, with validity for 14 days, said the report. Only fully vaccinated people should be allowed entry.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu

Micro-containment zones double in a fortnight

After three relatively normal months, micro-containment zones in Bengaluru have increased to more than a hundred. While the city had 56 containment zones on December 2, the numbers have now surged to 102, nearly a 90% jump. Most of the containment zones are in apartments. Bommanahalli zone has the maximum number of containment areas (31).

BBMP officials attributed the increase to improved surveillance and testing. They said they have instructed RWAs, traders, doctors and hospitals to keep a check on symptomatic visitors and recommend them for testing.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read More: The fall and rise of COVID test numbers in Bengaluru

New Omicron cases in city

On Friday, four new patients with the Omicron variant were identified in Bengaluru. All of them had taken two vaccine doses and are not suffering from severe diseases. On Saturday, a UK returnee who had arrived in Bengaluru was found to have Omicron. As of Saturday, Karnataka’s Omicron case count was 14.

No new Omicron clusters have been reported yet, but Dr V Ravi, virologist and member of COVID TAC advised that complacency should be avoided. He anticipates an upsurge in the next three months which would however be difficult to detect as patients would not show symptoms.

Source: The Times of India

Sinkhole on J C Road

A portion of JC Road in central Bengaluru caved in, leaving an eight-foot-deep sink hole that held up traffic on Thursday. BBMP officials said the sink hole appeared due to subsurface erosion, as water seepage leads to reduced soil volume beneath the surface. However, they had no clarity on the source of seepage. On Thursday night, BBMP filled the sink hole with materials that can drain water better.

Though the sinkhole was large enough to cause accidents, there were fortunately none, as the road had caved when there was no traffic.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu

23 ‘smart’ roads to be done by year-end

Bengaluru Smart City Ltd (BSCL) is speedily asphalting 23 roads that it was developing since the last two years under the Smart Cities Mission. These include Jumma Masjid Road, Halasuru Road, Kamaraj Road, Bowring Hospital Road, Coffee Board Road, Race Course Road, St John’s Church Road, Infantry Road, Central Street and Raj Bhavan Road. Currently, the roads are being tarred with three layers – base, damp-proof membrane and bituminous concrete.

Roads around Bowring Hospital tarred by BSCL this month. Pic: BSCL/Twitter

Most of these roads had been dangerous for a while due to the digging of the main carriageway. BSCL sources said the delay was due to construction challenges, heavy vehicular movement and the pandemic, but that they plan to finish the works in 10-15 days. BSCL had taken up the development of 36 roads in CBD at the cost of Rs 482 crore, of which only nine have been completed so far.

Source: Deccan Herald

Have filled 26,000 sq km of potholes: BBMP

BBMP sources said they have filled at least 26,000 sq km of potholes in 10 days. Operations of BBMP’s wet mix plants were stopped during rains, but now they are hitting production of 22 loads of hot mix a day, officials said. BBMP plans to make 450 km of roads pothole-free by December 25th.

BBMP had come up with a list of streets spanning 168.2 km, that require immediate repairs worth dozens of crores. 

Source: Deccan Herald

Tree loss for Metro lines

Forest Department has registered a case against the illegal felling of seven trees for the 19.75-km Metro line along Outer Ring Road. BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd) had sought the removal of these trees for Metro construction, but the trees were felled before the Forest Department gave permission.

Tree officers from the BBMP and the Forest Department’s Bengaluru Urban division have so far given permission to remove 2,037 trees for the ORR Metro line.

Meanwhile, activists from the Environmental Support Group (ESG) have collected over 4,500 signatures in an online petition to save a grove in the All Saints’ Church compound, at the junction of Richmond Road and Hosur Road. Though BMRCL plans to cut 20 trees in the compound for the Gottigere-Nagavara Metro line, the church congregation fears more will be affected. The 150-year-old trees in the compound have roots that have outgrown the canopy by five times, said a senior member of the church congregation. Axing the trees will affect peacocks, paradise fly-catchers and 23 other bird species, as well as the recreation space for senior inmates and students of the special school in the compound, he said.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read More: Namma Metro: Trees axed in Whitefield, compensatory planting in Uttara Kannada. Here’s why

Vajra prices reduced

The BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) has slashed Vajra AC bus fares by 34% from Friday. There are also reductions in the rates of the daily pass (from Rs 120 to Rs 100) and monthly pass (from Rs 2,000 to Rs 1,500). BMTC is also increasing the number of AC bus services.

Fares up till 6 km or the first three stages will remain the same. Only those travelling to Stage 4, or 8 kms and beyond, will be charged less, ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 40, depending on the distance covered. The fare for passengers travelling beyond 8 kms has been revised from Rs 30 to Rs 25.

However, the Vayu Vajra (airport) services remain at the same fares.

BMTC has been struggling to restart the AC bus operations for more than a year, as the pandemic reduced the number of regular passengers in these buses. The price slash is to attract passengers, mostly employees working in IT corridor companies. The advocacy group Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike welcomed the cuts and said such measures should be taken in case of regular buses too.

The Transport Department plans to permit metered quadricycle taxis in the city by the end of January. Though 600 quadricycles are plying in the city, citizens can book them only through app-based cab aggregators which makes the cost exorbitant. According to the department, CNG-based quadricycles would reduce air pollution and provide last-mile connectivity to Metro riders.

Source: The Indian Express, Deccan Herald

BJP candidate wins Bengaluru Urban MLC election

The MLC elections 2021 have favoured BJP candidate Gopinath Reddy in Bengaluru Urban, and Congress candidate S Ravi in Bengaluru Rural. Across the state, BJP and the Congress won 11 seats each, and JD(S) two.

With this, BJP’s strength in the 75-member Legislative Council has improved from 32 to 37, whereas the Congress’s strength came down from 29 to 26 and that of JD(S) from 12 to 10. Still, the BJP is one member short of a simple majority in the Council.

The biennial elections on December 10 had a huge voter turnout of 99%. They were conducted because the tenures of 25 outgoing MLCs would end on January 5.


[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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